The antics of the Mongrel Mob at the top of Te Mata Peak, one of Hawke's Bay's most cherished landmarks, has left tourists "shocked" and a Hastings district councillor fuming.
Damon Harvey said he had been told locals and tourists were prevented from driving or walking up Te Mata Peak on Saturday afternoon because of what could have been a "patching" ceremony by the gang.
"The tourists were shocked that this could happen in public and felt intimidated. If they were holding a patching ceremony, then that's totally unacceptable. I walk and ride up there regularly, as do many family and friends, it needs to remain a safe place.
A police spokesperson said it was not illegal for the gang to be in what is a public place, but their presence on the Peak did cause a few issues.
"There was group of gang members congregated at Te Mata Peak on Saturday evening.
"The area was a public place and it was not illegal for the group to be there.
"However there was some congestion due to number of vehicles present and police assisted with traffic management."
Harvey said it was not the first time such an event had taken place.
YouTube videos from December 2017 show a large contingent of the gang riding up the peak on motorcycles before one of them does a burnout.
Harvey said a similar event took place in January.
"Te Mata Park should not be closed off to the public so that new members can be welcomed into a gang.
"I was contacted by a concerned resident last night, who had been speaking to some visitors to Hawke's Bay that had felt intimidated and told to turn back around and not go to the top of the peak," Harvey said.
It is believed the road was essentially closed for almost two hours, from 1.45pm to around 3.30pm.
Harvey said Te Mata Peak Rd was a public road and if any other group or organisation wanted to use both the road access and the summit car park, they would have to seek prior approval from the council, which would also require public notification.
"It seems none of the protocols of holding an event were followed and at the end of the day. I don't think this is the type of activity we want in such a high-profile public space.
Te Mata Park is one of New Zealand's most visited and photographed landscapes.
Gangs expert Jarrod Gilbert said it was normal for gangs to gather in a place that is significant to them for a certain reason.
He said it was odd for police to be present.
"That's not really normal any any circumstance for a public event, let alone a gathering of gangs, to have a police presence like that."